AEC Office


The decisions of the Council and the General Assembly are implemented by the AEC Office, which is located at Keltenlaan / Avenue des Celtes 20, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. The AEC Office consists of a core team of Chief Executive, General Manager/Deputy CEO, Events and Project Manager and Office Manager, which is supplemented during major projects by dedicated project staff. The AEC Office also regularly welcomes student interns, who gain valuable experience during their placements as well as making an essential contribution to the smooth running of the Association.  

Stefan Gies

Chief Executive

Stefan Gies has been the Chief Executive of the AEC since September 2015. His work focuses on networking with other organisations active in the fields of music, art and higher education at European and international level, as well as on lobbying the institutions of the European Commission and the European Parliament. The key topics he is currently working on include: campaigning for the recognition of the specific features of artistic education; ensuring the long-term preservation of adequate framework conditions to maintain a musical life and cultural offers; promotion of musical education at all levels and according to diverse needs; establishing artistic research and facilitating cross-border mobility.

Stefan was born in 1954 in Landau in southwestern Germany. He studied viola, composition, musicology and music education at the Musikhochschule Freiburg, but also performed in the fields of rock and jazz music. He worked as a classroom and instrumental teacher and got his doctorate degree in music pedagogy. Stefan does research and publishes on theories of musical Bildung and the history and constitution of the institutions. Stefan can look back on an academic career spanning more than 30 years as a scholar, professor of music education and principal at German Higher Music Education institutions.

Stefan has been actively involved in AEC since 2007. Before taking on the position as its CEO, he took part in: the 'Polifonia' working group on accreditation in higher music education (2007-2010); in the AEC Quality Enhancement Committee (2011-2014) and he also chaired the working group 'Evaluation for Enhancement' within the FULL SCORE project (2014-2017). He is responsible for running the AEC's current Creative Europe project 'Strengthening Music in Society' (SMS). Stefan can be reached via

Linda Messas

General Manager/Deputy CEO

Linda joined the AEC in March 2007 as project administrator of the 'Accreditation in European Higher Music Education' project.  She coordinated the ERASMUS Network for Music ‘Polifonia’ (2007-2010) and the AEC Institutional and Programme Review Scheme. Linda is General Manager since January 2011 and supports the CEO in managing the AEC Office. Linda also works for the new external evaluation body MusiQuE - Music Quality Enhancement. Linda has a Master in European Politics from the Institute of Political Sciences in Strasbourg. She is French, speaks English and some German and works hard on her Dutch. She can be reached via

Sara Primiterra

Events and Project Manager

Sara joined the AEC team in February 2009, first as an intern and then as project administrator for the Swedish Sida Project for the Western Balkans “Widening Participation on the Road to  Membership”. She coordinated the European Students Chamber Orchestra Tour 2011 and in September 2010 she became the Office Manager of the AEC. Since November 2011 Sara has been the Events Manager of the AEC, being in charge of the organization of the AEC  Annual Congress, the IRC Meeting and the thematic working groups and platforms (Pop and Jazz, Early Music and Artistic Research). She also represents the AEC at international  meetings. Since 2016 she also got involved with project management at AEC: she is the Project Manager of the European Online Application System (EASY) and she represents the AEC in the management working group of Erasmus Strategic Partnership and Creative Europe projects where the AEC is involved as communication and dissemination partner. Sara has got a Master of Science in Economics and Management of Arts and Culture at Bocconi Business University in Milan with a final dissertation on conservatories’ international relations. She was also trained as a musician and she got a violin degree at Conservatorio di Novara (Italy). Sara is Italian, speaks  English and French and has some knowledge of Spanish and Dutch. Her main fields of interest are: management of cultural and educational institutions, event management, mobility and international relations. She can be reached via

Esther Nass

Office and Project Coordinator

Esther joined the AEC team in autumn 2016 as intern, and returned as Office and Project Coordinator in 2017 after finishing the Master Euroculture at the University of Groningen and the University of Göttingen. She has been involved in several cultural projects, varying from organising tours for youth orchestras to facilitating cultural dialogue online, as well as working for a education training leaders and managers in the cultural sector. At the AEC she works on the financial and project administration, besides supporting the AEC members and the Council. She likes to play the flute and the piano, and sings when she thinks no one can hear her. She speaks Dutch, English and German and is working on her French. She can be reached via

Jef Cox

Project Coordinator, Review and Policy Officer

Jef joined the AEC team in January 2015, first as an intern and later as Project Coordinator. His work focuses primarily on activities relating to quality assurance and learning outcomes. Jef contributes as Policy and Review Officer to the daily operation of MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, the independent European evaluation body for higher music education, and regularly represents MusiQuE at events and meetings around Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in History and a Master’s degree in European Studies, both from the University of Leuven (Belgium). As a bassoonist and pianist, he has been closely involved in several orchestras and ensembles. Jef is Belgian, speaks Dutch and English, and is working to improve his French. He can be reached via


Paulina Gut

Project, Communication and Events Coordinator
Paulina joined the AEC team in September 2017 first as an intern and later as Project, Communication and Events Coordinator. Paulina also contributes as Administrative Officer to the daily operation of MusiQuE- Music Quality Enhancement, the independent European evaluation body for Higher Music Education. She graduated from the Music Academy of Cracow (Poland) with a Master's Degree in Arts (piano performance). She also hold a Music Teaching Diploma obtained at Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. She is dedicated to culture as an active professional musician and music teacher. Paulina also has a broad experience of working in the field of music including management, production and communication. She worked as a trainee with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and Brussels Philharmonic. She is currently studying the Cultural Management program at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Paulina is Polish and speaks French, English, Italian and improving her Dutch. She can be reached via

Nina Scholtens

Communication, Advocacy and Project Coordinator

Nina joined the AEC team in February 2018 as an intern and continued as a Communication, Advocacy and Project Coordinator. At the AEC, she works predominantly on coordinating AEC's (online) communication and is therefore happy to answer any questions about the dissemination services and the use of the AEC website (database). She also contributes to strengthening AEC's position in political and legal developments. Nina is supporting the project management of the OperaVision, Opera out of Opera and Opera InCanto projects.

She studied European Studies at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in Maastricht. Nina is engaged in music as an amateur singer, and salsa and bachata dancer. She has been involved in organizing several projects for students at university and has co-organized a cultural singing event in Maastricht. Nina is Dutch and speaks English, Spanish, German and is working to improve her French. She can be reached via

Charline Mabille

AEC Intern
Charline joined the AEC team in March 2019. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and is currently studying European studies at the ULB, University of Brussels. She plays the violin since her childhood and would like to learn to play the piano. She is Belgian and speaks French, English and has some knowledge of Dutch. She can be reached via


Ivona Tomic

AEC Intern
Ivona joined the AEC team in July 2019. She graduated in Theatre Directing and Radio from the Academy of Dramatic Art Zagreb, and is currently studying Cultural Diplomacy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome. She has been involved in several projects concerning arts management and production. She is Croatian, speaks English and has some knowledge of Italian and German. She can be reached via

Alfonso Guerra
AEC Intern

Alfonso joined the AEC team in July 2019 as a Project and Membership management intern. He holds a Master's degree in Music composition from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. He plays the piano since he was a child, and currently composes contemporary classical music for different projects. His main fields of interest are music composition, music engraving and project management. Alfonso is Spanish and speaks English and French. He can be reached via